The number one reason to clean your dryer and keep it clean is to prevent fires. However, there’s more to cleaning your dryer than just cleaning the lint trap. Read on to learn why you should clean your dryer, how to properly clean it, and how often you should do a thorough cleaning.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the “leading items first ignited in dryer fires were dust, fiber or lint, and clothing.”
In four years (2010-2014) United States fire departments responded to almost 16,000 house fires which caused injuries and deaths and about $240 million in property damage.
Ninety-two percent of those fires were caused by clothes dryers.
How to clean your dryer
There is more to cleaning your dryer than just cleaning out the lint trap, although that is a very important step and should be done every time the drying process is finished.
Be sure to read about how to keep your washing machine clean, too!
Clean your dryer lint trap
I’ve made it a habit that whenever I take my laundry out of the dryer, I clean out the lent trap, too.
A clean lint trap prevents fires because it allows for better airflow. Better airflow improves the speed of the drying time, too. The shorter time you’re running your appliance, the cheaper your energy bill will be. Win-win!
Remove the mesh lint trap and scrape away any lint that’s built up on the screen as well as along the sides.
If you use dryer sheets and/or fabric softeners, residue from these products can build up on the mesh lint trap. To remove this, use an old toothbrush dipped in warm soapy water and scrub the screen. Allow the mesh lint trap to dry completely before putting it back in the dryer.
Make sure you get down inside the lint trap, too. Wipe as much as possible with a microfiber cloth, then vacuum inside with a small vacuum cleaner attachment.
Clean the dryer drum
Residue from dryer sheets and fabric softeners can build up on the dryer drum, too. Removing this is easy and should be done once a month. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray the dryer drum. Wipe the drum clean with a microfiber cloth and leave the door open to let the dryer air dry completely.
Clean the vent ducts
Dryer vent ducts also need regular cleaning to prevent fires. Lint and debris can get clogged in the ducts, which prevents airflow and makes your machine extremely unsafe.
Unplug your dryer and pull it away from the wall. Disconnect the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer (you might need a screwdriver). You should expect to see a lot of lint and debris in there. Use your hand to remove as much as possible or use a brush cleaner, then vacuum the rest of the lint away.
While you have the exhaust hose off, remove the back panel of your dryer. If you see any lint, vacuum it up with a small nozzle vacuum attachment. Replace the panel and the exhaust hose.
How often you should clean your dryer
Cleaning your dryer regularly will not only prevent fires, it will cut down on your energy bill every year as well as keep your machine running smoothly for years to come.
So how often should you clean your dryer?
After every load: Clean your dryer lint trap after every load. Make it a habit to scrape away the lint either before or after you remove the laundry from the dryer.
Once a month: The dryer drum should be wiped clean with the vinegar and water spray at at least once a month, especially if you use dryer sheets and/or fabric softener.
Once every three months: Your dryer needs a deep and thorough cleaning about four times a year. Clean and vacuum out the exhaust hose and the back of the machine following the above instructions.
To make this simpler, make it a habit to deep clean your dryer at the start of a new season.
Maintaining your dryer will keep you and your family safer, lower your energy bill, and keep your machine running smoothly for years.
How often do you clean your dryer?
Looking for more cleaning tips? I recommend these:
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
Pretreating Stains with Baking Soda
11 Things You’re Forgetting to Clean in Your Bedroom
Cleaning Your Mattress the Right Way